Norway Students Vote to Restrict Coca-Cola
Seek Ethical Alternatives to Coca-Cola
For Immediate Release
November 11, 2008
Amit Srivastava, India Resource Center +44 77477 47499
Mina Off, Attac University of Oslo +47 9202 3404
Oslo (November 11, 2008): Students at the University of Oslo have
voted overwhelmingly to restrict the dominant presence of Coca-Cola
products on campus, and introduce ethical alternatives to Coca-Cola
In a resolution passed yesterday at the University of Oslo Welfare
Council (Velferdstinget I Oslo), the student body will now seek to
restrict significantly the size of Coca-Cola's contract, offer alternative
beverages that are ethical and fair trade as well as adopt more stringent
criteria for ensuring that companies that do business with the University
of Oslo have strong environmental and ethical records. The student
body will also inform Coca-Cola of their decision to restrict Coca-Cola,
citing the company's practices in India.
The University of Oslo Welfare Council is a student representative
body that oversees all aspects of student life at the University of
Oslo - the largest university Norway.
Student groups had voiced concerns that in the absence of ethical
products on campus, the students had no choice but to support Coca-Cola
- which they found problematic because of the company's unethical
practices in India.
Communities across India have been campaigning against Coca-Cola,
charging the company with creating water shortages and pollution.
Two Coca-Cola plants have been shut down in India as a result of the
campaign, and a Coca-Cola funded study released in January 2008 has
recommended the closure of another bottling plant in India citing
Coca-Cola's significant role in worsening water shortages.
"As students, we want to send Coca-Cola and other businesses a clear
message that we will not do business as usual with companies that
engage in unethical practices," said Mina Off, coordinator of Attac
at the University of Oslo who has led the campaign.
The University of Oslo is the latest in a series of educational institutions
to take action against Coca-Cola. In Norway, the University of Bergen,
Vestfold University College and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences
at Aas have also passed resolutions against Coca-Cola. Globally, several
colleges and universities have also taken action against Coca-Cola,
including Smith College in the US, Guelph University in Canada and
University of Sussex in the UK.
"We welcome the move by students in Norway to put pressure on the
Coca-Cola company. We need such actions globally to ensure that we
do not have to go through another summer with little or no access
to water because of Coca-Cola," said Mahesh Yogi of the Kala Dera
Sangharsh Samiti, the community group demanding the closure of the
Coca-Cola bottling plant in Kala Dera in the state of Rajasthan.
Coca-Cola's operations in India are coming under increasing scrutiny
internationally, and the company has resorted to announcing ambitious
"corporate social responsibility (CSR)" initiatives to counter the
criticism, including the announcement that the company will become
"water neutral" in India by 2009.
"Increasing CSR initiatives around the world does nothing to improve
the damages that Coca-Cola has caused locally in India," said Amit
Srivastava of the India Resource Center who also spoke at the Welfare
Council meeting. "It is no longer a question of whether Coca-Cola
has acted unethically in India, but rather what the Coca-Cola company
will do to correct the wrongs in has committed in India. We will ensure
that the longer they wait, the more consumers they will lose."
For more information, visit www.IndiaResource.org
FAIR USE NOTICE. This document contains copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. India Resource Center is making this article available in our efforts to advance the understanding of corporate accountability, human rights, labor rights, social and environmental justice issues. We believe that this constitutes a 'fair use' of the copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Law. If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use,' you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.